October Positivity: Another Perfect Stranger (dir by Jefferson Moore and Shane Sooter)

Ten years after Nikki Cominskey had the world’s most awkward dinner date with Jesus (played by Jefferson Moore), Nikki’s daughter is flying to Portland.

Having just graduated from high school, Sarah (Ruby Lewis) wants to attend an exclusive art school but she fears that she may not get the scholarship that she would need.  If that wasn’t stressful enough, she’s also not getting along with her parents.  She never thought that her mom and dad were actually seriously about all that church stuff but it turns out that they were and now they are scandalized to discover that Sarah doesn’t even consider herself to be a believer!  The night before Sarah’s trip, Nikki sat her daughter down and told her about the night that she had dinner with Jesus.  Now, Sarah is worried that her mother has lost her mind.

Because Sarah is flying the least efficient airline in existence, there’s a layover in Dallas on the way to Portland.  That leaves Sarah a lot of time to get to know the man who is sitting next to her on the airplane.  His name is Yesh and he says that he comes from a small town in the east.  He also says that he’s a counselor and that he works with his father.  When Sarah asks what Yesh’s father does, Yesh says that it’s not easy to explain but that his father has a lot of responsibility.  He’s in charge of many things.  Sarah thinks that Yesh is a friendly stranger but, since he’s played by Jefferson Moore, the audience knows who he actually is.

Yesh and Sarah discuss religion.  Sarah says she hates religion.  Yesh says that he agrees, because people have twisted religion to satisfy their own base desires.  Sarah says that she can’t understand her parents.  Yesh says that her parents love her just as his father loves everyone.  Sarah says that she wants to be an artist.  Yesh tells her to be sure not to fall asleep during art history class.  (Hold on, Yesh!  I majored in art history!  Art history rocks!)  Sarah assumes that Yesh is an atheist and gets a little annoyed when Yesh reveals that he’s actually not.  Yesh reads her a poem and explains that it was written by his father and that it’s in the Bible.  Sarah is amazed because she thought the Bible was just full of rules.  She doesn’t seem to notice that Yesh said that his father wrote the Bible but that’s because Sarah doesn’t really come across as being that smart.

You can pretty much guess where all of this leading.  With the exception of one surprisingly well-handled scene in which Sarah discusses the trauma that turned her away from religion, Another Perfect Stranger follows the same storyline as The Perfect Stranger.  The main difference is that Sarah is a teenager and the conversation takes place on a plane instead of at a restaurant.  Once again, Yesh wins every argument because the screenwriter is on his side and Sarah is incapable of coming up with any counterpoints that aren’t easily dismissed.  Unfortunately, this film is also 20 minutes longer than The Perfect Stranger and pace is much slower.  The majority of Sarah’s dialogue sounds like it was written by a computer program designed to basically approximate the speaking habits of someone under the age of 30.  On the plus side, Sarah is not quite as humiliated by Jesus as her mother was.

This was followed by one more Perfect Stranger film, which was only 61 minutes long and which I’ll take a look at tomorrow.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/17/22 — 10/23/22

I think that, so far, this has been our best Horrorthon yet!  This upcoming week, we’re going to finish strong.

So, put on your Silver Shamrock mask and get ready for Halloween!

Films I Watched:

  1. Another Perfect Stranger (2007)
  2. The Canterville Ghost (1944)
  3. Champions (1997)
  4. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  5. Dashcam (2022)
  6. Dracula (1931)
  7. Dracula’s Daughter (1936)
  8. En El Puzo (2019)
  9. Frankenstein (1931)
  10. Halloween Ends (2022)
  11. Hellrasier (2022)
  12. House on the Edge of the Park (1980)
  13. I Can Only Imagine (2016)
  14. The Incubus (1981)
  15. The Invisible Man (1933)
  16. The Mummy (1932)
  17. Nikki and the Perfect Stranger (2013)
  18. The Perfect Race (2019)
  19. The Perfect Stranger (2005)
  20. Remember the Goal (2016)
  21. The Sister of Ursula (1978)
  22. Six-Headed Shark Attack (2018)
  23. Sometimes They Come Back (1991)
  24. Son of Frankenstein (1939)
  25. Year of the Dragon (1985)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Abbott Elementary
  2. The Amazing Race
  3. Atlanta
  4. Bubblegum Crisis
  5. Fantasy Island
  6. Full House
  7. Ghosts
  8. Hell’s Kitchen
  9. The Love Boat
  10. Night Flight
  11. Survivor

Books I Read:

  1. The All-Night Party (1997) by R.L. Stine
  2. The Face (1996) by R.L. Stine
  3. The Overnight (1990) by R.L. Stine
  4. The Surprise Party (1989) by R.L. Stine

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Britney Spears
  2. The Chemical Brothers
  3. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. David Bowie
  5. Duran Duran
  6. Falling In Reverse
  7. Five Man Electrical Band
  8. Goblin
  9. John Carpenter
  10. Katy Perry
  11. Nine Inch Nails
  12. Saint Motel
  13. Taylor Swift
  14. Wendy Carlos

Live Tweets:

  1. Champions
  2. I Can Only Imagine
  3. 6-Headed Shark Attack
  4. Sometimes They Come Back

Horror On The Lens:

  1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  2. Nosferatu
  3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  4. The Phantom of the Opera
  5. The Lodger
  6. Faust
  7. The Student of Prague 

Horror On TV:

  1. Circle of Fear 1.17 “Doorway to Death”
  2. Circle of Fear 1.18 “Legion of Demons”
  3. Circle of Fear 1.19 “Graveyard Shift”
  4. Circle of Fear 1.20 “Spare Parts”
  5. Circle of Fear 1.21 “The Ghost of Potter’s Field” 
  6. Circle of Fear 1.22 “The Phantom of Herald Square”
  7. The Curse of Degrassi

4 Shots From Horror History:

  1. 1987 — 1989
  2. 1990 — 1993
  3. 1994 — 1996
  4. 1997 — 1999
  5. 2000 — 2001
  6. 2002 — 2004
  7. 2005 — 2007

Horror Scenes That I Love:

  1. Hellraiser
  2. It
  3. Dellamorte Dellamore
  4. The Rage: Carrie 2
  5. Mulholland Drive
  6. 28 Days Later
  7. Inland Empire

News From Last Week:

  1.  Peter Schjeldahl, Art Critic for The New Yorker, Dead at 80
  2. Tom Maddox Passes Away Due To Stroke
  3. Bono Issues Another Apology for U2’s iTunes Album Debacle in New Memoir: ‘I Take Full Responsibility’
  4. The Box Office Hierarchy Has Changed
  5. Sacheen Littlefeather Lied About Native American Ancestry, Sisters Claim

Links From Last Week:

  1. The Halloween Horror Of Stephen King’s “Christine!” “Shocktober 2022” Has All Of King’s Best Movie Adaptations!
  2. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books. Movies and TV 10/22/22

Links From The Site:

  1. Leonard shared the trailer for Creed III!
  2. Case reviewed Run!
  3. Jeff shared music videos from Alice Cooper, Grim Reaper, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Danzig, Pet Shop Boys, and Guns ‘N Roses!
  4. Jeff played The Godfather, The Godfather II, Night Train, Friends?, Kiss of Beth, Fight Night 3, Shift In The Night, and Zombie Blast!
  5. Jeff reviewed The Stepfather II, The Stepfather III, The China Lake Murders, The Strange Possession of Mrs. Oliver, Who Is The Black Dahlia, Sometimes They Come Back, Sometimes They Come Back …. Again, and Sometimes They Come Back …. For More!
  6. Jeff wrote about Siskel & Ebert and Vincent Price meeting the Muppets!
  7. Jeff wrote about Tomb of Dracula and Swamp Thing!
  8. Erin shared Waiting, Hellraiser, Hanging, Unmasked, Terror Train, Swinging Death, and They’re Here!
  9. Erin wrote about baseball: Padre Rap, The Yankees Win It, The Astros Are Two Wins Away From The World Series, The Phillies and the Astros Are One Win Away From The World Series, and The Phillies Are Going To The World Series and The Astros Are Going To The World Series!
  10. Erin shared The Vortex Duo!
  11. I reviewed Test of Faith, The Collector, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil, Beyond The Time Barrier, Remember the Goal, The Watcher, En El Pozo, The First Power, Power of the Air, Halloween Ends, The Sister of Ursula, Scissors, The Perfect Race, Hellraiser, Hostile, Bigfoot, Buying Time, Dashcam, The House on the Edge of the Park, The Monster, The Giant Gila Monster, A Matter of Faith, Night Tide, Starship Invasions, Queen of Blood, The Perfect Stranger, 47 Meters Down Uncaged, The Deep House, Summer of Fear, and Teenagers From Outer Space!
  12. I reviewed The Encyclopedia of the Strange, The Thrill Club, Haunted Places, The Surprise Party, Disaster Movies, The Overnight, Killer Cops, All-Night Party, Nostradamus Predicts The End of the World, and The Face!
  13. I reviewed episodes of Hang Time, Fantasy Island, Love Boat, City Guys, One World, and California Dreams!
  14. I wished a happy 21st anniversary to Mulholland Drive!
  15. I shared my week in television and an AMV!

More From Us:

  1. At her photography site, Erin shared: Storm Approaching 6, Cemetery, Cemetery 2, Cemetery 3, Devil In The Clouds, Abandoned, and Spotlights!
  2. At Horror Critic, I reviewed Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, and Bride of Frankenstein!
  3. For Reality TV Chat, I reviewed the latest episodes of The Amazing Race and Survivor!
  4. At my music site, I shared songs from Wendy Carlos, Goblin, Nine Inch Nails, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Five Man Electrical Band, John Carpenter, and Falling In Reverse!
  5. At Pop Politics, Jeff shared Governor Lee Zeldin?, The Best Thing That Could Happen To Joe O’Dea, Swalwell News, Truss Resigns Boris Returns, Sometimes It’s Better To Keep Quiet, Foxtrot Juliet Bravo, and Johnny and Rodney!
  6. At SyFy Designs, I shared Halloween Approaches!
  7. At my online dream journal, I shared: Last Night’s Old Apartment Dream, Last Night’s Divorce-Related Dream, Another Stupid High School Dream, Last Night’s Power Failure Dream, Last Night’s Voodoo Dream, Last Night’s Trampoline Dream, and Last Night’s Freshman Year Roommate Dream!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

Horror on TV: The Curse of Degrassi (dir by Stefan Brogren)

This is a special episode of my favorite TV show of all, Degrassi!  Originally airing on October 28th, 2008, The Curse of Degrassi features Degrassi’s main mean girl, Holy J Sinclair (Charlotte Arnold), getting possessed by the vengeful spirit of deceased school shooter, Rick Murray (Ephraim Ellis).  Chaos follows!  Fortunately, Spinner (Shane Kippel) is around to save the day.  As any true Degrassi fan can tell you, only Spinner has a chance against the forces of the undead.

What I like about this episode is that, in the best tradition of Degrassi, it goes there.  Holly J does get possessed.  Just about the entire cast end up dying horribly.  Spinner has to battle the undead spirit of Rick Murray and he has to do it without the help of Drake.  And, as far as we know, this episode is canon.  So, yes, Rick Murray’s ghost actually does haunt Degrassi Community School and yes, only Spinner can save us all.

Go Spinner!


The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Teenagers From Outer Space (dir by Tom Graeff)

The aliens have landed in California!

And they’re teenagers!

That may sound like the set up of a 1960s beach movie but actually, Teenagers From Outer Space is an oddly somber little movie from 1959.  Now, just to be clear, somber does not necessarily equal good.  There’s a lot of humor to be found in Teenagers From Outer Space but next to none of it’s intentional.  Instead, this attempts to be a serious-minded movie that happens to be about intergalactic teens.

The teenagers are named Thor (Bryan Grant) and Derek (David Love).  They’ve been sent down to Earth so that they can raise Gargons, which are these lobster creatures that are considered to be a gourmet delicacy on their own world.  Thor is the arrogant and insensitive alien who thinks that he’s too good for Earth and reacts to nearly every social situation by pulling out his ray gun and firing.  (Whenever Thor vaporizes anyone, a perfectly white skeleton — the type that you’d expect to see hanging in a classroom — is left behind.)  Derek is sensitive and moody.  He’s got the soul of a poet.  He doesn’t want to vaporize people.  Instead, he wants to explore Earth and maybe hang out in a coffee house while reading Kerouac.  Though Derek may never actually say it, it’s obvious what’s going through his mind whenever he looks at the other teenagers from outer space.  “The scene is totally squaresville, man,” Derek thinks, “Real melvin.  Exploring planets with peaceful intentions is where it’s at!”

Anyway, Derek decides to run away and explore Earth on his own.  He ends up renting a room in a boarding house owned by Grandpa (Harvey B. Dunn) and his daughter, Betty (Dawn Bender).  Betty is immediately attracted to Derek, despite the fact that she already has a boyfriend (who is played by the film’s director, Tom Graeff).  She’s not particularly surprised when Derek tells her that he’s from outer space.  Nor is she upset when he reveals that, shortly after arriving on Earth, Thor vaporized her dog.  (Judging from her nonplussed reactions to everything, I’m assuming that Betty was an avid reader of both Sartre and Camus.)

As for Grandpa, he spends most of his time hanging out on the front porch and talking to strangers.  For instance, when Thor comes by and demands to know where Derek is, Grandpa cheerfully tells him.  This, of course, leads to a lot of innocent people being vaporized but Grandpa never seems to feel particularly bad about it.  Certainly, no one in the movie ever takes the time to point out how much trouble could have been avoided if Grandpa wasn’t so talkative.

Derek really just wants to stay on Earth but Thor knows that Derek is secretly the son of their planet’s leader and therefore, cannot be allowed to run away.  Why doesn’t Derek know this?  I have no idea.  It’s possible the movie explained this turn of events while I was busy wondering why no one seemed to be upset about all the skeletons that were turning up around town.

Anyway, as I said, there aren’t many intentional laughs to be found in Teenagers From Outer Space but there’s plenty of unintentional ones.  Between Betty’s calm acceptance of everything that Derek tells her and David Love’s continually confused stare and blank line readings, it’s impossible not to smile while watching this movie.

Teenagers From Outer Space was written, directed, and produced by Tom Graeff. Shortly after this film came out, Graeff took out an ad in the Los Angeles Times and proclaimed himself to be the second coming of Christ.  Hey, why not?  After you make a movie like Teenagers From Outer Space, I suppose it seems like anything could be possible.  Unfortunately, Graef committed suicide in 1970 and he didn’t get to see his misbegotten little film find a second life as a cult favorite.

Teenagers From Outer Space.  It’s not very good but it certainly is watchable.

Great Moments In Comic Book History #30: Swamp Thing Makes His First Cover Appearance

Swamp Thing made his first appearance in DC’s House of Secrets #92 (July, 1971).  It was a stand-alone story that was set in the early 20th century.  It did not have much in common with the Swamp Thing that was all know today but the issue will always be remembered for its cover, which was drawn by Bernie Wrightson.  The girl who is coming her hair while Swamp Thing approaches was modeled on Louise Jones, who would later be known as Louise Simonson and would become an important comic book writer in her own right.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night
  11. Zombie!
  12. The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
  13. The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
  14. Captain America Punches Hitler
  15. Spider-Man No More!
  16. Alex Ross Captures Galactus
  17. Spider-Man And The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime
  18. Goliath Towers Over New York
  19. NFL SuperPro is Here!
  20. Kickers Inc. Comes To The World Outside Your Window
  21. Captain America For President
  22. Alex Ross Captures Spider-Man
  23. J. Jonah Jameson Is Elected Mayor of New York City
  24. Captain America Quits
  25. Spider-Man Meets The Fantastic Four
  26. Spider-Man Teams Up With Batman For The Last Time
  27. The Skrulls Are Here
  28. Iron Man Meets Thanos and Drax The Destroyer
  29. A Vampire Stalks The Night

Sometimes They Come Back… For More (1998, directed by Daniel Zelik Berk)

The third and final Sometimes They Come Back film has nothing to do with the two films that preceded it.  Those two films dealt with dead juvenile delinquents who came back to life to haunt the people who they blamed for their deaths.  They came back for revenge.  The third film has more in common with The Thing than the other two movies.  If you’re going to make a movie that invites comparisons to The Thing, you better have the goods and unfortunately, this film doesn’t.

Captain Sam Cage (Clayton Rohner) and Major Callie O’Grady (Chase Masterson) are dispatched to an Arctic research center to follow up on reports that one of the researcher has snapped.  For Cage, the mission is personal because his brother-in-law is at the center.  What they discover is that almost all of the research personnel are dead and that Dr. Jennifer Wells (Faith Ford) and Lt. Brian Shebanski (Max Perlich) are the sole survivors.  Someone at the research center had been studying Satanism and that, along with a portal to Hell under the station, leads to trouble.  Soon, the dead are reanimating and stalking the living.

Sometimes They Come Back… For More gets off to a good start with the mystery at the base and a visual emphasis on the harshness of life in Antarctica.  Clayton Rohner appeared in a lot of straight-to-video horror movies and, by the time he made this one, he was a pro at handling bad dialogue.  Once Cage and O’Grady reach the base, the movie starts to go off the rails as the survivors make increasingly poor decisions, Faith Ford struggles to be a believable scientist, and an absurd twist is introduced concerning Cage and his brother-in-law (Damian Chapa).  The movie was obviously influenced by The Thing and Alien but it never duplicates the claustrophobic intensity that made those films work.  Not surprisingly, after this movie, they would not come back.

Sometimes They Come Back… Again (1996, directed by Adam Grossman)

When Jon Porter was a child, he witnessed the murder of his sister by three delinquents named Tony (Alexis Arquette), Vinnie (Bojesse Christopher), and Sean (Glen Beaudin).  The three thugs would have killed Jon too except that they were electrocuted by an electrical wire in a puddle of water.  Years later, the now adult Jon (Michael Gross) returns to his hometown for the funeral of his mother.  Jon is now a psychologist and has a daughter named Michelle (Hillary Swank).

The death of Jon’s mother was no accident.  Tony has come back to life and Michelle, not knowing that he’s a demon, has a crush on him.  Tony soon brings Vinnie and Sean back to life and they seek revenge on the man who they blame for their deaths.

This straight-to-video sequel to Sometimes They Come Back is slightly better than the first film, mostly because Tony and his gang are more intimidating than the ghost greasers that haunted Tim Matheson and Michelle wanting to date the man that her father killed adds a new wrinkle to the story.  There’s nothing about Hillary Swank’s performance that would make you think she was a future Oscar winner but she is likable and sympathetic.  The member of the cast who make the biggest impression is Jennifer Elise Cox, playing Michelle’s Tarot card-reading friend.  (Cox is probably best known for playing Jan Brady in The Brady Bunch movies.)  Cox brings a lot of kooky charm to the movie and is featured in the film’s most memorable scene.  Sometimes They Come Back… Again may not reinvent the horror genre but it’s a passably entertaining straight-to-video horror film.

Sometimes They Come Back (1991, directed by Tom McLoughlin)

In 1963, nine year-old Jim Norman witnessed a group of juvenile delinquents murder his older brother Wayne in a tunnel before getting killed themselves when a train came barreling down the tracks.  Twenty-seven yeas later, Jim (Tim Matheson) is a history teacher and he has returned to his hometown to take a job at his old high school.  He is haunted by memories of what happened in the tunnel and then he is haunted for real as, one by one, all of the dead delinquents returns to life and enroll in his class.  They want revenge on the man that they blame for their fiery deaths.

Based on a Stephen King short story, Sometimes They Come Back was actually produced for television.  It originally aired on CBS, complete with a warning that viewer discretion was advised.  Though the ghost greasers are too ridiculous to really be scary (one of them laughs like a hyena), the movie was still more graphic than anything else that played in primetime that year.  I wonder how television audiences, in those pre-American Horror Story days, reacted to one of Jim’s students being dismembered in the backseat of a car and the ghost greasers then tossing pieces of his body over the bridge?

Tim Matheson takes the material seriously and gives an intelligent performance as Jim Norman.  Fans of Newhart might enjoy seeing William Sanderson (a.k.a. Larry of Larry, Darryl, and Darryl) playing a serious role as the one greaser who wasn’t killed by the train.  Most of the other characters, including Jim’s wife and his students, are forgettable.  The movie’s glaring weakness is the ghost greasers themselves.  Even with their Satanic car and their threatening ways, they’re too cartoonish to be frightening.  Sometimes They Come Back has its strengths but ultimately, it’s a middling Stephen King adaptation.